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Full text of "NightRider"

the valley was relatively narrow, he expected to hit it within
half a mile or so off the road.

He saw the wide space of sky that opened, milky blue and
pale and opalescent, above the spot where the big trees
stopped. That, he guessed immediately, was the place where
an old clearing had been. But it was now overgrown with
brush, with sassafras, elder, second-growth gum, and sumac,
A few birds were stirring in the tangle, uttering their first,
tentative calls. The dew was heavy on the still leaves. He
stood at the edge for a moment. Then he saw the chimney
of the cabin.

He pushed his way into the clearing, toward the cabin,
There would be water there, he guessed. He came to the re-
mains of a rail fence, rotting now, and so tumbled-down that
he could step over it. He passed close to the cabin. The
windows were empty. There had never been glass in them,
just board shutters which now, with one exception, had fallen
from their hinges. The door was broken off. It lay on the
ground, and between the cracks in its boards the grass had
thrust. When he got to the corner of the cabin he heard
the sound of water riffing. He found the branch at the back
edge of the clearing.

He came back, after drinking and bathing his face, and
went to the cabin. When he stepped on the fallen door, one
board gave rottenly beneath his weight, so that he almost
stumbled. With his arms he struck down the cobwebs, now
sagging with dew, that barred the entrance, and went in.
There were only two rooms, both very small, and a loft. He
walked softly about, almost cautiously, and the old puncheons
twisted a little at his tread. At the chimney, patches of sky
were visible, for the logs had sagged, pulling away. He looked
at a corner. The logs had been badly notched, with weak,
slovenly strokes. Most of the chinking was gone. In the
first room there was no object except a hewn bench, from
which two legs were missing, and the ladder to the loft. In
the other room he saw a glass jar, unbroken, sitting on the
ledge of a window. In the bottom was a little accumulation